Sunset | Surfing the best beaches © Laura Mannhardt
Laura Mannhardt & Quokka | Curtin University © Laura Mannhardt
Ms Mannhardt, why did you decide to spend a semester abroad in Australia?
"I was already in Australia for 2 months after my A-levels in 2019 to travel. I also spent a few days in Perth and was absolutely thrilled by the people here, the nature and the beautiful weather. When I saw that MCI had a partner university in Perth, it was immediately clear to me: I want to go back. That's why I tried to improve my grades even more from then on and prepared for the required IELTS test in order to secure one of the two semester abroad places in Perth."
What does a week look like? How would you describe your daily student life?
Eating on campus: I almost never ate on campus because I lived so close to the university that I just went home at lunchtime. In the afternoons, however, I often went to one of the cafés and the coffee and snacks on offer were great (although a bit more expensive).
In terms of costs, it has to be said that Perth is not cheap. The cost of living is definitely higher than in Germany/Austria and you have to spend a bit more money on a healthy and balanced diet. However, I was able to save some money because I lived in a shared flat for 6 people (of course, this is not something for everyone and also brings complications, but I just wanted to save some money for road trips because of the cheaper accommodation).
Most of us went to the sea/beach every few days, although it takes about 1 - 1.5 hours to get there by public transport. But the wonderful sunsets were definitely worth it!
The university always had something on offer for international students, too, and often organized events/parties that you could take part in during the week as well as at the weekend. You really got to know new people very quickly, which meant that close friendships were formed very quickly."
What was the absolute highlight?
"My absolute highlight were the three road trips I took during my studies (twice down south, once up north). I love camping and 4wheeldriving on the beach or in the outback and Australia is definitely the right place for that. The nature/landscape in Australia is simply an absolute dream and has inspired me every day. We met so many nice locals at the campsites and everyone was super friendly and helpful.
The wildlife is both breathtaking and a little scary. We saw many kangaroos, emus, whales, dolphins and turtles, but also poisonous snakes and spiders. However, it has to be mentioned that poisonous animals were really a rarity. So I would not underline the typical Australian image with all poisonous animals wherever you go. They are there - that's clear - but they are not everywhere.
Another highlight was Rottnest Island. That's where the photo with the quokka was taken. The island is a dream and the colours of the water there really cannot be described. Although the island is an absolute tourist spot, it is definitely to be recommended. What's more, most people go around the island by bus or bike and if you're a bit more sporty and go on foot, you can also find some beaches that you have all to yourself."